October 15, 2013
For the past 56 years, the alumni of
St. John’s Lewis Avenue campus have come together to share
memories and reconnect with many of their former classmates who
called the University’s original campus their home. Although they
graduated many years ago, they still enjoy a strong attachment to
St. John’s, and look forward to catching up with those who shared
the Lewis Avenue experience with them.
“Lewis Avenue was a unique place,” remarked George Devine ’52C,
’55L, “and the memories and the friendships that we made there will
last forever. There was a sense of closeness that kept everyone
connected. That connection is obviously alive and well all these
years later. Each of us here is an unmistakable reflection of how
Lewis Avenue still holds a special place in our hearts.”
Over the years the Lewis Avenue alumni have generously supported
The Father Cyril Meyer, C.M. Lewis Avenue Alumni Scholarship Fund.
To date, they have contributed nearly $249,000 to provide annual
grants of one or more partial scholarships to deserving students
studying in St.
John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
“The more we raise, the more students we can help,” said Devine.
“We’ve already established our place in the history of St. John’s,
and supporting this scholarship is a great way to secure our place
in its future.”
A highlight of the Reunion is the presentation of the St. John’s
Lewis Avenue Alumni Legacy Award. This year’s recipients were
William Ryan ’47C and
Constance Stoll ’56Ed. Ryan enjoyed a successful career as a
business executive in the merchandising field, and Stoll, who is
also a two-time Olympian, mentored thousands of young people as a
gifted and compassionate teacher, guidance counselor and
genuinely pleased to have been recognized by their peers and
effusive in their praise for the University that still means so
much to them.
“Needless to say, I’m very honored to have been selected to receive
this award,” said Ryan. “There are so many alumni who went to
school on Lewis Avenue who are probably more deserving of this
recognition than I am, but I definitely appreciate the sentiment
behind it. I graduated from Lewis Avenue in 1947, and when I look
back it seems like only yesterday. I have wonderful memories of my
For Stoll, receiving the award was a reminder of how her years on
Lewis Avenue had a lasting impact on her life. She noted that
although she had to work to pay her tuition, she never lost sight
of the importance of completing her St. John’s education.
“When I was going to school on Lewis Avenue I had a job from 9 a.m.
to 3 p.m. every day, and went to class from 4 to 6 p.m. every
afternoon and all day on Saturday,” she said. “Everything that I
earned went to pay for my tuition, and to save money I even made my
own clothes. But all of that hard work was worth it, because I got
a great education and had a wonderful career in the teaching
profession. Receiving this award is just one more reminder of how
special St. John’s will always be to me.”
Working to pay tuition was a way of life for many Lewis Avenue
alumni. Even though their families could not afford to pay for
their education, these hard-working students knew the value of a
St. John’s degree and were willing to do whatever was necessary to
achieve their goal.
Catherine Malloy ’56Ed remembers what it was like to combine the
responsibilities of a full-time job with the demands of a rigorous
academic curriculum. She admits that it wasn’t easy, but
acknowledges that knowing that so many of her fellow students were
in the same situation brought everyone closer together.
“I had to
work to help pay my tuition,” she said, “which at that time was $12
a credit. But that was a lot of money in those days. My parents
couldn’t afford to send me to St. John’s, but I was determined that
I was going to become a teacher. I didn’t see the fact that I had
to work as any sort of imposition, because so many of us were in
the same boat. It was just the reality of what we had to do back
then. I came to St. John’s with a few friends from high school, and
we all had great careers as teachers and administrators.”
For Martin Moran ’52C, growing up in an Irish-Catholic household in
Brooklyn meant that, when it was time to choose a college, St.
John’s was at the top of the list. He knew that St. John’s had a
great reputation, and was determined to make the most of that
special opportunity. Friendly and outgoing by nature, he began
making lifelong friends as soon as he arrived at Lewis
“My best memory of Lewis Avenue really happened on my very first
day,” he recalled. “On my first day I went to the cafeteria to look
for a job, and I actually got a job right there. I worked in the
cafeteria for my entire four years, serving lunches and dinners, so
I got to know everyone as they were going through the food line. I
have great memories of everyone passing through the Lewis Avenue
cafeteria. It was a wonderful experience, and I made friends for
life. I really don’t think that I can ever repay St. John’s for all
that the University did for me.”